March 26, 2007

Astonishing, really

I think I mentioned last year that the College Board runs its AP readings like a well-oiled machine; they know exactly what to do, how to do it, and thousands upon thousands of booklets are graded consistently and efficiently. Which is why it's so completely amazing how badly organised they are in the run-up to the reading. It's like it's not even the same people.

For instance, today I received a letter that was printed onto ETS stationery and then photocopied; it appears to be a form letter to all 2007 AP readers. It instructs me to go to a website and type in a username and password—this is the same login for everyone, mind you—to get into their site, where I am to click "AP messages" (this is the only link on the page), and then print out the housing form, which I am to fill out and mail to them, in the business reply envelope they mailed to me.

Now, you might think this was to save them separately stuffing envelopes for each separate reading site (the form is site specific), but no: because also in the dead-tree mailing was a purple form asking me to respond "Yes, I PLAN TO ATTEND" or "No, I DO NOT PLAN TO ATTEND" for a baseball game that is specific to my reading site. So evidently all this was to, maybe, save them the cost of photocopying one sheet of paper per mailing.

And the form, which I had to print out, and which is specific to the The College of New Jersey reading site, not only makes me fill in things like which subject I'm reading for and what my position is, but also my date of arrival and date of departure. Which we've elsewhere been told is not at all optional: we must arrive on the night before the reading, and we must depart on the morning after. And yet, the actual dates of the reading? Nowhere on the form. Of course.

Some details do seem to be at least marginally better this year. For instance, the travel agent they outsource to has finally updated their https cert so that you don't have to override the failed security measure. But, their page still sucks, so that (for instance) there's no way for me to find out what kind of a train schedule they'd book me with (preferable, but not if there are long layovers) without first committing to travel by train. And heaven help you if you've got a complicated travel plan, like maybe only needing a one-way ticket since you're thinking of continuing from there to someplace else. *sigh*

"When heart disease remains such a menacing killer, focusing so much attention on relieving its symptoms seems a little like celebrating the victory over Darth Maul when you know that Palpatine's plan is still unfolding like clockwork." --Keith Winstein

Posted by blahedo at 10:14pm on 26 Mar 2007
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